New year brings renewed weed debate in Maryland

WASHINGTON – Colorado and Washington State did it. Will Maryland follow in legalizing marijuana?

On Wednesday, the start of Maryland’s General Assembly legislative session, Gov. Martin O’Malley said he doesn’t support legalization for recreational use. But not all lawmakers agree.

“The Governor’s behind the times on this issue,” says Delegate Heather Mizeur , a Democrat running for governor.

Mizeur says Maryland’s current laws are restrictive and “they are enforced with racial bias” and keep police from focusing on more “serious, violent crimes.” Instead, she wants marijuana legalized and regulated.

“We could create $150 million dollars a year in revenue that I’m proposing that we devote to funding universal pre-K.”

O’Malley has proposed expanding universal pre-Kindergarten, but hasn’t yet detailed how he would fund it.

Mizeur says one benefit of regulating pot would be the increased ability to keep it out of the hands of kids.

“This should not be something that kids have access to-but they do right now! No drug dealer cards anyone to sell them marijuana,” O’Malley says.

The debate on whether to legalize or decriminalize marijuana isn’t new in the Maryland statehouse, but the passage of laws in Colorado and Washington state may add new fuel to the debate-on both sides.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

Follow @KateRyanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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